The days on Flores island are of constant amazement. It starts from the moment you get in the car and want to stop every few minutes to enjoy the green and flowery roads (yes, Flores – flowers in portuguese – lives up to its name) and continues when you get into some part of that green and you expect a tyrannosaurus rex to appear anywhere. If we tell you that Flores is the Portuguese Jurassic Park, we would not be completely honest because it is all that together with natural pools with turquoise waters where you can greet fish of a thousand colors with imposing waterfalls in the background, colorful lagoons surrounded by a thousand shades of green and orange sunsets with an Azorean gin&tonic in hand saying goodbye to the sun in the sea.

Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro, one of the most beautiful landscapes we saw in all our trips.

The island of Flores has given us days full of sun, salt, and lots of nature. For all these reasons, it earned the position of our favorite Azorean island after spending two months visiting the nine islands of the archipelago. Nature in its purest form, a crystal-clear sea, excellent gastronomy and charming people. What more enjoyable ingredients do you want to enjoy your well-deserved vacation?

In this guide we try to reflect all that Flores has to offer with practical tips, itineraries from 2 to 7 days, where to stay and the best restaurants so that your trip through this “Portuguese Jurassic Park” is as incredible as ours was.

Poça das Salemas, Flores’ paradise No. 867

Contents

Basic facts for traveling to Flores

Flores is one of the nine islands of the Azores archipelago (Portugal) that are part of the Macaronesia (like Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde) and, along with Corvo and Graciosa, is included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO since 2009. It hides the largest “turfeira” in the Atlantic and the best preserved, a unique ecosystem that is a real water reserve, capable of retaining up to 20 times its weight in water, essential for the water balance of the island and for its incredible landscape of riverbanks and waterfalls. When it was named, back in the fifteenth century, it was covered with “cubres“, yellow flowers that today have lost their prominence compared to others. Apart from being beautiful, it is the westernmost territory of Europe (more specifically its islet, the ilhéu of Monchique) so when you are enjoying the sunset in Flores, you will know that you are the last person in Europe to do so (along with those who accompany you on the island). Although geographically you will be in Europe, geologically you will be in America since both Flores and neighboring Corvo sit on the American tectonic plate.

Currency: Euro

Language: Portuguese

Population: 3,429 (in 2021)

Daily budget: From 80€/day per person (approx.) for a one week trip with a rented car and the cheapest options of private accommodation for 2 persons. More budget information here

Weather: Undoubtedly the best time to visit Flores is during summer (trying to avoid July and August because of the crowds) due to better air and water temperatures and less chance of rain, although winter is not very cold (but it tends to rain more). Find out more about when to go here.

Accommodation: Ideally you should stay in Fajã Grande or nearby to be close to some of the most beautiful attractions of the island, the best restaurants and the best accommodations: Aldeia da Cuada or Sítio da Assomada are good options, we give you more options here. Other places to stay on the island are the capital, Santa Cruz, or Lajes das Flores. More information about the best places to stay here.

Duration: Minimum 3 days, recommended 5 days and ideally one week. More info here.

Flights: There are no direct flights to the island of Flores so to get there you will have to fly first to one of the main islands of the Azorean archipelago from Lisbon (to São Miguel, Terceira, Pico or Faial), from Porto (to São Miguel or Terceira) or from any other airport in Europe or US that has connections to the islands (normally with São Miguel). Once in the archipelago, you will fly with SATA (the Azorean airline) to Santa Cruz das Flores. We recommend you to use flight comparators like Skyscanner and Kiwi and be flexible with dates. More info on how to get to Flores here

Transportation: The best option is to rent a car. We did it with Autatlantis and we loved it: new cars and the best franchising policy. More info here

Time zone: UTC +0. The time in the Azores archipelago (Portugal) is one hour behind the Portuguese mainland and the UK and two hours behind the Spanish mainland.

Covid-19 Rules: Since the rules in the Azores are constantly changing, check here before traveling the official information from the regional government to enter the archipelago

Lagoa Funda (Deep lagoon): our favorite of the seven lagoons located in the volcanic calderas of Flores.

When to visit Flores

The best months to visit Flores are from May to October, trying to avoid July and August (peak season). June and September tend to be the best months, with good weather, nice temperature waters and fewer people. Tourism to the island has grown a lot in recent years, so if you are traveling in July/August, book accommodation and car rentals well in advance, as they are limited and sell out very quickly (or go up and get absurd prices).

In terms of climate, summer is undoubtedly the best time, with higher temperatures, less chance of rain and the possibility to enjoy more of its beaches and natural pools. In any case, the weather in Flores (and in the Azores in general) is very unstable so there are no guarantees at any time of the year (it is often said that you can have the 4 seasons in one day). It is also said that June is the month of clouds, although the truth is that it depends on each year.

If, in addition, you want to coincide with the island’s festivities, these are some of the key dates:

  • May/June: Festas do Espírito
  • 3rd weekend of July: Festa do Emigrante (Emigrant’s Festival)
Swimming in Fajã Grande with the Poço do bacalhau waterfall as background

How to get to Flores

There are no direct flights to Flores from outside the archipelago so it can only be reached by flying from other islands. There are several flights from Portugal and also some options from other european countries and from the US and Canada

  • From Lisbon to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel), to Lajes (Terceira), to Pico or to Horta (Faial)
  • From Oporto to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel) and Lajes (Terceira)
  • From Madrid to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel) but, for the moment, only in summer.
  • From Boston (US) to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel)
  • From Toronto (CA) to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel)
  • From London (UK) to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel)
  • From Paris (FR) to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel)

The cheapest flights are usually Ryanair flights from Lisbon/Porto to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel) or Lajes (Terceira) but to get the best price you should be flexible with dates and use price comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi.com.

Once in the archipelago, you will have to fly to Flores from one of these airports with SATA, the Azorean airline. Buy your ticket as soon as possible as the planes are small and the limited seats get sold out quickly

If there are no flights to the Azores archipelago from your country, our suggestion is to make a short getaway of a couple of days to Lisbon and Porto, and fly from there to the Azores.

How many days to spend in Flores

We recommend a minimum of 3 days, although ideally you should spend between 5 days and a week: this way you can include a visit of 1 or 2 nights to the neighboring island of Corvo and/or leave some days of margin in case the weather is not good (something highly recommended since Flores is an island to enjoy with good weather). For this reason we propose different types of itinerarie which you can see here.

Miradouro do Portal, our favorite viewpoint on the island

Things to see and do in Flores

Following is summary of the places of interest to visit in Flores, and below you have the map and specific information of each place.

Things to see and do in Flores

  • Contemplate some of the most beautiful waterfalls and lagoons in Portugal.
  • Swim in natural pools of turquoise blue water
  • Enjoy viewpoints with cliffs dressed in fluffy green.
  • Drive on roads that look like Jurassic Park.
  • Watch the sunset at the westernmost point of Europe

Map of Flores

Here you can see all the things to see and do in Flores that we talk about in this guide on a Google Maps map that you can carry with you on your smartphone to check at any time. The places are divided into South+West (Green) and North+East (Blue).

Here is also a tourist map with the roads of Flores (click on the image to download it in larger size and resolution).

Tourist map of the island of Flores (Azores)

South and West of the island: Waterfalls, Lagoons and the best sunset

Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro (Poço da Alagoinha): spectacle of nature

Welcome to Jurassic Park; sorry, to Flores. The Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro (also known as Poço da Alagoinha or Lagoa das Patas) is one of the most dazzling landscapes we have ever seen in our travels around the world so we think we can sat that by visiting this place you will be visiting one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. The imposing lagoon surrounded by the green cliff of about 200 meters high dotted by ten or twenty waterfalls leaves no one indifferent and, in fact, when you can close your mouth you will be expectant to see if a tyrannosaurus rex appears out of nowhere. The mirror of water reflects and duplicates the beauty of these waterfalls.

The 800-meter trail through the forest to get there (you can park here, and the trail starts here) is not very difficult, just take it easy and pay attention to the slippery terrain and the loose stones (change your flip-flops for sneakers if you just took a dip in Fajã Grande or in the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall). Here is the route on Wikiloc.

Poço do Bacalhau Waterfall

The water flows down 95 meters until it reaches a natural pool ideal for removing the salt from the body after the dips you have taken in the neighboring Fajã Grande. In fact, the waterfall Poço do Bacalhau has much of the blame for the beauty of Fajã Grande since it is the protagonist of the background that we see when we enter the sea.

We liked this waterfall so much that we went there three times. One day we enjoyed it alone in the morning. Another day, a swim in the afternoon to remove the salt from our bodies and to receive a natural hydromassage from the water that fell with force from those 90 meters. And finally, the third, before dinner, to see if we could see the rainbow that, as we were told, usually appears here at the end of the afternoon. The rainbow did not appear and we are sure that it is a trick of the waterfall to make us come back again, in a next trip.

To get there, you can park on the side of this road and walk a few minutes to this beautiful Florentine corner.

By the way, you can wake up next to this same waterfall in the accommodation Moinho da Cascata (from 70€/night, up to 6 people). Seems like an an idyllic place if you come in a group.

Fajã Grande and its natural pools: the place to be

The natural pools of Fajã Grande are undoubtedly one of the most dazzling landscapes of the island where, once again, the protagonists are them, the waterfalls. But here we contemplate the fine white lines of water flowing down the green cliffs from the sea and, in fact, bathing in the sea, in case you visit the island during the summer. By the way, they say that in Fajã Grande it is always a few degrees warmer and the sea is a bit calmer.

Fajã Grande and the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall as a background

Fajã Grande is an spectacle of nature composed, on one hand, by a succession of waterfalls descending from an imposing cliff to enjoy with a dip or beer in hand (the most spectacular one being Poço do Bacalhau) and, on the other hand, the endless Atlantic Ocean, as we are in the westernmost island of the European continent. Well, sorry, actually the westernmost territory is its islet, ilhéu of Monchique which we can see from here.

If you approach Ponta da Fajã, following the road that passes right in front of the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall (Estrada da Ponta), you will find a small and beautiful church, the Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Apparently only six very brave families live here given the proximity of the cliff where there were landslides in 1987 and 2009.

It is precisely here, at Ponta da Fajã, that one of the most beautiful – and hardest – trails on the island begins: the 13+ km trail from Fajã Grande to Ponta Delgada, at the northern tip of the island. Read more about it in the best hiking trails in Flores section. Something much shorter you can do to enjoy the views on this side of Fajã Grande is to climb the 100 meters to the Miradouro da Cruz:

Views from Miradouro da Cruz, Fajã Grande

All paradises have a “but” and in this is not an exception. Keep an eye before entering the sea of Fajã Grande because, especially in summer, not only little fish and people like to swim here, but also some dangerous jellyfishes (aguasvivas) or, worse, some carabela portuguesa (“Portuguese man’o war, whose sting is painful and dangerous). It is not that it happens every day, but be warned, just as they did with us. We tell you more about what to do in case you get stung in Recommendations to enjoy Flores.

It is also in Fajã Grande where you will find the best accommodations, the best restaurants and where it is ideal to stay to enjoy the sunset at the end of a fay full of activities. We don’t need to say anything else, do we? If you can, don’t hesitate and book your accommodation in this area.

The best known accommodation to stay here is the Aldeia da Cuada(from 70€/night) but you have other options like the Sítio da Assomada ( 75€/night). Find more accommodations in Fajã Grande here and more options in the Where to stay in Flores section.

The garden overlooking the sea of one of the 17 stone houses of Aldeia da Cuada

When you get hungry, the best thing to do is to go early to find a table on the terrace of the Papadiamandis or, if it’s cold, find a table inside (don’t worry, you won’t lose the view of the sea and the waterfalls, but of course, it’s not that cool). If it coincides with the sunset, even better, but beware that, at least in high season, its excellent value for money is known and fills up quickly. By the way, the name of one of the westernmost restaurants in Europe comes from the shipwreck of the Liberian ship Papadiamandis here, in Fajã Grande, when it was traveling from New Orleans to Hamburg, in 1965.

The Papadiamandis terrace

If it’s a special occasion (isn’t it every day in Flores an special occasion?), go to Maresía. More than a restaurant, Maresía is an experience: there is no menu and not many tables. Jorge Brilhante, the host, welcomes you as if you were in the living room of his house, tells you what is he cooking that day and how long it takes. If it’s okay with you, you’re welcome to sit. You can also go one day just to enjoy the sunset with a drink. We went there almost every day on the island just to enjoy Jorge’s company (who, by the way, as a curiosity, was the official photographer of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic between 1993 and 2006), the soundtrack of his collection of more than 800 vinyls, the sea view and a good Rocha Negra (Azorean gin). Looking forward to come back.

The best soundtrack on the island comes out of those two speakers over there, along with the waves of the sea and the chorus of the “cagarros”.

As always, in all restaurants in Flores, book well in advance.

Aldeia da Cuada: special rural tourism

Probably the most famous accommodation in the whole island of Flores, Aldeia da Cuada is an incredible rural complex. An old village abandoned in the 60’s (when most of its residents emigrated to the USA), and recovered by a Florentine couple, the parents of Carlota, current manager of the project together with her husband Silvio.

Aldeia da Cuada (from 70€/night) has 17 stone houses (some larger than others, depending on the number of guests, there are houses with 1, 2, 4 or 6 rooms) with garden overlooking the sea, each with the name of the last person who lived in the house. It also has a restaurant (it’s delicious) and even a colorful chapel for religious travelers. All this in a labyrinthine green-sponge, common in Flores. Here they try to preserve the spirit of yesteryear and this is visible both in the decoration of the houses and in the lack of tv or wi-fi. If you want one of these “modernities” and to connect to something more than nature, you will have to go to the reception or to the restaurant.

To stay here book as soon as possible because the beautiful stone houses get sold out quickly. If you do not arrive in time to get one or your budget is looking for something cheaper, do not miss at least its restaurant and try it one of the days.

Book your cottage in Aldeia da Cuada here.

Fajãzinha: the cheeses, the waterfall and the best sunset

The diminutive of Fajãzinha, nestled between cliffs and waterfalls, is quite explanatory: if above is “Fajã Grande”, (big Fajã) below is “Fajãzinha” (the tiny Gajã). And to see the sunset, nothing better than the Sunset. No, I was not mistaken, “Pôr-do-Sol” (Sunset, in Portuguese) is the name of the restaurant with a terrace that has one of the best views (for some people, the best ones) of the island to say goodbye to the sun in the sea.

The terrace and the typical Florentine gastronomy of this family restaurant (but above all, the terrace) are the reason why most travelers come to Fajãzinha. The most popular dishes to try at the Pôr-do-Sol are the sausages, especially the black pudding and sausage, but if you are more of a veggie person, be sure to try the cakes of erva-patinha (or Atlantic nori ), a local seaweed with a delicious smoky flavor. There is no chance of getting your order wrong: when you arrive, they give you a multiple-choice test. Relax, you haven’t gone back a few years to your school desk or back to work, it’s simply the menu where you just have to tick the boxes of what you want to eat and drink.

Beware cheese lovers! Beyond the restaurant and the views of Fajãzinha you can also taste and buy island cheeses at Queijaria Pico Redondo. Of course, the cheeses of Ilda Henriques are not cured for a long time, a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of three months, so they are softer and less intense than what you are probably used to in the Azores. By the way, Ilda had a pastry shop and the cheeses began simply to take advantage of the milk from her cows, until word of mouth was such that now she dedicates herself exclusively to it and produces not only for the whole island, but also for the other Azorean islands, for the Portuguese mainland and even for the United States!

But it is not only because of eating and drinking that Fajãzinha is worth a visit. If you want to visit an old-fashioned water mill in full operation, you can do so at the Moinho da Fajãzinha or Moinho da Alagoa (because it is moved by the forces of the waters of the Alagoa river) free of charge. The miller Fátima Serpa is already used to people wanting to gossip about her work and explains how the milling of corn works in this 1862 mill up to the distribution of the flour in several points of the island. Just show up between 1 pm and 5 pm on weekdays.

Apart from Fátima’s explanation, as a bonus track you get the beautiful view from the mill to the impressive 110-meter waterfall of Ribeira Grande.

If you want to stay in Fajãzinha and enjoy its beautiful sunset from home, check out the Fajãzinha Cottage. More options in Where to stay in Flores.

Miradouro do Portal

Our favorite viewpoint on the island. We went twice, as the first time the fog decreased the visibility, we decided to repeat the visit on a sunny day to contemplate the view without any shyness.

From the Miradouro do Portal we can see Fajãzinha and the breathtaking waterfall of Ribeira Grande, Fajã Grande and its succession of waterfalls, the green Florentine sponge that surrounds everything and the endless blue Atlantic Ocean. Undoubtedly, the ideal background to take some pictures.

Mosteiro

We were motivated to visit Mosteiro because of two reasons: a cemetery where a pirate is buried and an abandoned village in the caldera of a volcano.

About the first motivation that attracted us to Mosteiro, related to its church and cemetery, there is a dark story that crosses seas from the East to Flores and ships with the flag of a skull. Apparently, a Florentine named António Freitas born in Fajãzinha in 1792, was a pirate! This is something that, according to what we read in the Museum of Flores, has not been correctly proven but it is highly suspected and you will understand when you see his mysterious grave. It is said that when he settled in Macao he dedicated himself (and prospered) to opium trafficking and ended up in jail. When he managed to escape from prison, he fulfilled his promise: to return to his native island, Flores, and to build a church (Mosteiro church) dedicated to Santa Filomena. At the back of the church, in the cemetery, there is a mausoleum that stands out from the rest… No more spoilers but if you like pirate stories, here is a real and visitable story on the island of Flores.

About the abandoned village in the caldera of Mosteiro, our motivation was to know and walk through an authentic Florentine village and approach the daily life of yesteryear. Although you will currently see the ruins of what used to be the houses of the village, a rural tourism project is underway to rehabilitate it and bring it back to life. In addition, just for the views from this place of Mosteiro, it is worth the visit.

Miradouro Craveiro Lopes

Considered one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the island, it is worth approaching the miradouro Craveiro Lopes to get a panoramic view of the green cliffs of the west coast, a different (and distant) view of the impressive waterfalls of Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro, over Fajã Grande and even Aldeia da Cuada.

We went in the morning and the fog robbed us of some of the splendor but we have been told that the sunset from here is spectacular.

Rocha dos Bordões

You will spot this imposing rock reminiscent of a pipe organ from the road, until you decide to go to see it closer on purpose. Spoiler: it’s worth it. To contemplate the organ, sorry, the rock, park at this viewpoint. It is a 570 thousand year old geological formation resulting from the rapid cooling of basaltic rock in vertical columns of about 20 meters high.

Apart from contemplating the most curious geological phenomenon of the island, look carefully along the road because you will also pass by a waterfall, Cascata da Ribeira do Fundão, next to the road, about 500 meters away.

Lajedo: viewpoints and calderas

After contemplating the Rocha dos Bordões, we keep going to the south along the coast to enjoy the views. One of the best things to do in Flores is to simply enjoy the views from the road. Of course, it is essential to stop from time to time to soak up the Florentine panoramic views.

On this road, we recommend stopping at Miradouro do Cartário and Miradouro da Baía do Mosteiro.

If you feel like hiking and you want to earn a dip, there is a trail from Lajedo that goes to Fajã Grande (13.5 km). More information in The Best Hiking Routes in Flores.

Further south, on the coast, you can find the only hot water spring on the island. We didn’t get to go there but the small calderas, known as Aguas Quentes, are here if you want to take a dip in the natural hot water.

The 7 Lagoas (lagoons) of Flores

One of the attractions of the island of Flores is its 7 lagoons installed in the calderas of inactive volcanoes. What has caught our attention, apart from their beauty, is how descriptive their names are.

Lagoa Funda (deep lagoon) and Lagoa Rasa (flat lagoon)

Towards the south of the island, closer to Lajes das Flores, Funda (deep) and Rasa (flat) lagoons have a particularity: although they are next to each other, they are at different altitudes: Lagoa Funda is at 360 meters and Lagoa Rasa at 530 meters. You can see both of them by parking at this viewpoint.

Lagoa Funda is our favorite. Delimited by a lush green that is reflected in the lagoon itself, watching the clouds dance from its viewpoint was a real spectacle. This lagoon has a maximum depth in its caldera of 35 meters.

The Lagoa Rasa just in front, is also very beautiful but, in our opinion, it is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbor. Although it is at a higher altitude, it has, as its name indicates, less depth: about 16 meters of maximum depth.

Lagoa Negra (black lagoon) and Lagoa Comprida (long lagoon)

In the center of the island, the Negra and Comprida lagoons are located next to each other and boast the best panoramic view of the lagoons of Flores. You can see both lagoons from this viewpoint.

Lagoa Comprida (long lagoon): because it is indeed longer although it is actually darker than Laguna Negra. It is surrounded by endemic flora, more specifically cedro-do-mato, which resemble something like giant bonsais.

Lagoa Negra (black lagoon): next to Lagoa Comprida, although it is currently more greenish. It is the deepest lagoon of all the lagoons of the Azorean archipelago (yes, deeper than Lagoa Funda) with its 113 meters deep. It is estimated that its water volume exceeds seven million cubic meters.

There is a trail that connects these two lagoons – Lagoa Negra and Lagoa Comprida – with the impressive Poço do Bacalhau waterfall. We didn’t do it but it is 7 km long and worth it for the breathtaking scenery. More info in The Best Hiking Routes in Flores.

Lagoa Seca (dry lagoon)

Also located in the Planalto Central, its name(Lagoa Seca, dry lagoon) is so illustrative that it needs no explanation, right? Well, it is the only one of the seven that does not have permanent water: only rainwater accumulates in its perimeter. You can see Lagoa Seca from this viewpoint.

Lagoa Branca (white lagoon)

We read two theories as to why this one is called the “whitest” of the lagoons: one theory says that its name comes from the fact that this lagoon especially reflects the sky and when this happens it gains a lighter color. The other theory, and the one that we think makes more sense, says that its name comes from the“tufos calcários” (a light-colored volcanic rock) that surrounds it, although the truth is that we have not been able to appreciate these “tufos”…

Lagoa da Lomba (hill lagoon)

In the southeast of the island, Lagoa da Lomba (literal translation: Lagoon of the Hill) is apparently so called because it is located on the hill of a mountain. Or it may also be simply because it is near a village called Lomba. Or maybe the village is also called that way because of where it is located…. It is the only lagoon of the seven that does not belong to the list of geosites of national interest. In addition, as on the day we went there, the fog often complicated the views. It is the one that we can approach more easily on foot, but beware, dips are forbidden!

As a bonus track in the Florentine lagoon-hopping, you have the incredible roads and landscapes that surround the lagoons:

Fajã de Lopo Vaz and its trail

This trail takes you down to a “fajã” (terrain created by lava flows or by landslides) with a tropical microclimate so it is possible that when you arrive you will find a different climate than in other places on the island. In addition, the Fajã de Lopo Vaz was most probably the first place on the island to be inhabited. Its name “Lopo Vaz” is, in fact, the name of one of the first settlers of Flores.

The trail is 3.4 km long and, although it is short, it is very steep. The path is linear, so if you go down…then you will have to climb it back. Of course, the path will give you breathtaking panoramic views and a refreshing dip when you arrive (be careful with the currents, when we went the waves were very strong here) but they say that the water is warmer than in the rest of the island and the truth is that the temperature was splendid.

Randomtripper scale difficult:Medium. It is a short but steep trail, slippery (sometimes there are rock falls) and on rainy days we imagine it will be complicated. Trekking boots/sneakers are essential to do the trail.

Apart from plenty of water, bring some wetshoes (like these Cressi ones, for example) for the beach since, like most of the beaches in the Azores, the beach is not sandy, it is rocky. We have read (without being able to verify the veracity) that hammerhead sharks have been sighted on this beach!

We were amazed because in such a wild environment, where you least expect it… there you have three fresh water showers, in the middle of nature. It was a pleasure to wash the salt off our bodies and refill our water bottles…. In fact, we learned later that there was always a spring of drinking water here that was used since the early days of the island’s population.

Be careful, there is no cell coverage on this trail so it is ideal for disconnecting, but keep in mind, download the route on maps.me before starting it.

Lajes das Flores

Being the island of Flores the westernmost island of Europe, and Lajes being the westernmost municipality of Flores, Lajes das Flores is, therefore, the westernmost municipality of Europe:

We went to Lajes for a well-deserved coffee and to stretch our legs after the Fajã Lopo Vaz trail and were delighted to find the beautiful terrace of Bar O’Trancador overlooking the harbor beach. If you feel like a dip, this is the moment.

By the way, the port of Lajes was destroyed in 2019, due to Hurricane Lorenzo, leaving the island with supply problems temporarily. It is currently being rebuilt and is expected to be ready in 2025.

We also visited the lighthouse, the Farol das Lajes (a 1910 lighthouse rehabilitated in 2008) because we always like to gossip the views offered by lighthouses.

Although it is not the first option we would recommend for staying in Flores (Fajã Grande is best option in our opinion), everything on the island is really close (except for the northern tip of Ponta Delgada), so from Lajes das Flores you can move in a short time to the main points of the island, offering good accommodation options. Staying here has a great advantage: its gastronomic offer.

In this area, we highlight the Casa das Pedras Brancas ( from 62€/night); the Casa dos Morros ( from 65€/night); the Vivenda Joaquim (from 70€/night); or the Casa das Flores (from 110€/night). Find more options in Lajes by clicking here. More options in Where to sleep in Flores.

Near Lajes you will find the famous O Forno Transmontano (typical dishes of the Trás-os-Montes portuguese region in Flores); the Casa do Rei (dishes made with organic products); the Cana Roca (to taste the best pizzas of the island) and Pastelaria Rosa (Rosa’s Pastry shop, where you can taste the typical sweet of the island, Queijadas Florentinas, created by Rosa). More about restaurants in Lajes or nearby in Where to Eat in Flores.

"El fin de un viaje es simplemente el comienzo de otro. Lo importante es volver a empezar el viaje siempre." Lajes das Flores
“The end of one journey is simply the beginning of another. The important thing is to always start the journey again.” Lajes das Flores

North and East of the island: natural pools with turquoise waters, viewpoints and lighthouses.

Santa Cruz das Flores

Natural pools and Poça das Salemas

If you have come this far, you have already realized that not only with its greenery and freshwater lagoons Flores captures us, but also with its natural pools! And these ones are special. The natural pools of Santa Cruz das Flores were the first ones we went to on the island and they were the best appetizer for the dips in Flores. In addition to the crystal clear waters and not being cold at all (it is difficult to put a downside to this island, but even the water is not very cold, at least when we went in July), these natural pools overlook the neighboring island of Corvo, which we visited later.

The natural pools of Santa Cruz, the island’s capital, have a privileged view of Corvo (in the background on the left).

These beautiful natural pools of volcanic origin are located next to the promenade of the island’s capital, have easy access with stairs and even a bar with a terrace where you can have a drink after bathing. In our opinion, it is essential to bring goggles and snorkel to greet the many colorful fish that are found there.

Be careful, the sea does not live by fish alone and, especially in summer, you have to watch out for jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ war, whose sting is more painful and dangerous. We tell you more about it and what to do if you get stung in Recommendations to enjoy Flores .

Close to these natural pools you will find another one, Poça das Salemas. To enjoy this Florentine paradise just go down the wooden stairs first, then the metal ones and swim, float, watch the marine life. Enjoy!

Not only for being close to these incredible natural pools but also for the good gastronomic offer, the island’s capital is another good option to stay on the island. Take a look at Casa da Cruz (62€/night); Casas da Quinta (from 75€/night) or Casa Vicente (from 120€/night up to 5 people). More options in Santa Cruz das Flores here and more info in Where to sleep in Flores: best areas.

Museums

Museu das Flores: The museum is located in the beautiful Convento de São Boaventura (also known as Igreja de São Francisco) and offers a tour of the most significant moments in the history of the island of Flores. It was here that we learned more about the French presence on the island of Flores (the French Military Base, or rather, the Telemetry Station operated between 1964 and 1993 on the island) through a documentary that portrays how this presence influenced the way of life of the Florentine people (in terms of fashion, behaviors, etc). It was also in this museum that we learned more about the history of António Freitas, the pirate buried in Mosteiro, and understood how people lived and sustained themselves in Flores through a set of artifacts.

Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão: We didn’t get to go to this museum but here you can find several multimedia contents and an exhibition of boats and utensils used during whaling on the island of Flores. The “baleação” (whaling) was a very important economic activity in the Azores – especially on the island of Pico – for about 50 years and the numbers are shocking: between 1896 and 1949 about 12 thousand whales were hunted. The activity was happily banned when Portugal joined the then European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986. On the same theme, on the island of Flores, there is also the Baleeiro Museum in Lajes das Flores but we were told it is smaller and humbler.

Auditório/Museu Municipal: Its avant-garde architecture will catch your attention because it stands out from the rest, after all, you are on a remote island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This auditorium is something like the cultural epicenter of the island; exhibitions, concerts and conferences are held here.

Boat to Corvo

It was at Cais das Poças in Santa Cruz das Flores that we experienced the most suspenseful moment of the whole trip. After a few great days on the island, the morning we had the boat to go to Corvo, it started to rain a lot and here, in this Cais, we were told that the boat would probably not leave, neither that day nor the next ones… Something very common in the Azores and that you have to get used to is that the weather can be unstable and unpredictable and can disrupt your plans. Finally a “window of opportunity” (“janela de oportunidade” something you will hear quite a lot around here) came up and we went, in a rather bumpy 40 minutes trip, to the neighboring island of Corvo. You can experience this adventure in our Corvo Featured Stories on our Instagram: Corvo.

The silhouette of Corvo viewed from Flores
Miradouros (Viewpoints)

Near the Florentine capital there are some viewpoints that deserve a stop:

Miradouro da Costa Nordeste: near Fábrica da Baleia, from this viewpoint you can see the cliffs of the northeast coast of Flores.

Miradouro do Monte das Cruzes: view from the top of Santa Cruz das Flores and the airport (good place to see planes taking off or landing).

Miradouro Pico da Casinha: we went on the first day, as soon as we arrived. It overlooks the island of Corvo and some of the hills of Flores.

Miradouro Arcos Ribeira da Cruz: an ideal viewpoint to understand why Flores is called the sponge-island. The panoramic view shows the hills dressed in lustrous green with the ocean as a backdrop.

Queijaria Val da Fazenda

Near Santa Cruz das Flores, in the Fazenda (farm) of Santa Cruz, you will find Queijaria Val da Fazenda or, as it is known locally, the “Queijaria das Anas” since two Anas, mother and daughter, run this business from home. They live right there but unfortunately when we went there was nobody and we were left without tasting the famous cheese. And I say famous because – thanks to Jorge Brilhante who will ring a bell from the Maresía restaurant in Fajã Grande – their cheese is even sold in the specialized store “Queijaria” in Lisbon. Apart from fresh cheeses, there are also cured cheeses, with curing periods ranging from two to four months.

Miradouro da Caveira and Fajã do Conde

The legend of Miradouro da Caveira (skull viewpoint) tells that a castaway named Demetrio appeared one day and lived in the area for several years. He was loved by the whole village despite having something that distanced him from the others: he was not a believer and lived heretically. For this reason, legend has it that when Demetrio died, an illuminated skull began to appear at night in this very place where the viewpoint is located. The population believed that this was because Demetrio’s tormented soul, having lived heretically during his lifetime, was unable to enter purgatory. They decided, therefore, to start saying masses in Demetrio’s name until the skull disappeared. The viewpoint is still called “Miradouro da Caveira” (skull viewpoint) to this day.

One of the things we were looking forward to do was a boat trip around the coast of Flores – talk to Carlos Mendes of Extremocidente via email info@hotelocidental.pt if that sounds good to you too – and on this coast there is something interesting. The Gruta dos Enxaréus is a volcanic cavity 50 meters long and 25 meters wide that can be entered by boat (small of course, it’s not very high). Apparently, it was used for centuries as a hideout for pirates and corsairs and today it is one of the interesting points of the island for scuba diving.

Very close to the Miradouro da Caveira you will find the viewpoint of Fajã do Conde, from which we can see from above this fajã and part of the east coast of the island of Flores.

Baía de Alagoa

The beautiful bay of Alagoa can be seen from above and explored from below.

To contemplate the bay of Alagoa from above there are two viewpoints that we love: the Miradouro dos Caimbros and the Miradouro dos Cedros.

From these viewpoints you can see how the sea entangles the rocks and the various islets such as the islet of Garajau, the islet of Alagoa or the islet of Alvaro Rodrigues, which was cultivated until the mid-twentieth century.

From below, the best thing to do is to enjoy Alagoa Beach with a good dip (wet shoes are a must, of course) in waters that rarely drop below 20º due to the Gulf Stream. The road down is not shown on Google Maps, but you can get there by car (the detour is at this point, included in our map), although be careful because the parking space below is limited (3-4 cars) and the last stretch is a bit steep. Around here you will find the Alagoa Park, one of the places of excellence for camping (free) on the island of Flores or spend a nice day with family or friends: views, beach and a communal barbecue, something common in Azores: where there is a good view, there will be a barbecue.

Nearby you will also find the Miradouro Fajã dos Cedros, from which there are views full of shades of green of the Cedros area.

Museu do Machado and Miradouro do Ilhéu Furado

A little further north is Ponta Ruiva, one of the most isolated places on the island that hides a museum and a viewpoint that attracts travelers. The Museo do Machado, or Casa do Machado, is a sort of unofficial museum about the life in Flores in the past, a house that invites you to travel back in time. Mr. José Fortuna decided to exhibit some pieces he has collected and kept over time that illustrate the modus vivendi of those times when being born in the westernmost tip of Europe was a choice between emigrating or surviving. In this dark little room there is a whole display of objects from the chair of the man who was for years the only barber on the island to old photographs on top of an old mattress of corn husks.

The Miradouro do Ilhéu Furado is located right in front of the Casa do Machado and offers breathtaking views of the northeast coast of the island.

Turfeiras and Cedros-Ponta Delgada road

We can say that in Flores we have known another “sponge mode”, much greener and healthier, and the road that connects Cedros with Ponta Delgada is the best example of this. There are walls of the Florentine island, visible especially on this route, that are dressed in a green so lustrous and so wet that do justice to being known as the sponge-island and that only make you want to throw yourself on it. This is due to the“turfeiras” or“musgão“, as the locals call them (Sphagngnum spp. for botanists).

The turfeiras are a very particular ecosystem as they are authentic water reservoirs. They act as sponges of mosses and vegetation that have accumulated over thousands of years without decomposing completely, in an environment saturated with water. The Turfeira of the island of Flores, which is located in these high and humid areas of the Planalto Central, is nothing less than the largest and best preserved in Europe. It is essential to the island’s water balance and to its unique landscape of waterfalls and riverbanks, with a water retention capacity of up to 20 times its weight.

You won’t be surprised if we tell you that we have passed this road four times and in all of them we have stopped at the Miradouro da Pedrinha, at this other viewpoint and at the Miradouro de Ponta Delgada, not only to enjoy the views but above all to appreciate those turfeiras.

Ponta Delgada

Flores also has a Ponta Delgada, namesake of the capital of the island of São Miguel, which does justice to its name. The Florentine Ponta Delgada is like a tongue of plain that enters from the sea inland, at the northern end of the island.

We recommend you to go to this viewpoint to get the best views not only over the bay of Ponta Delgada and its port but also of the neighboring island of Corvo. The viewpoint is called Miradouro sobre o Porto e Baía de Ponta Delgada and if you enter the link we leave you the exact location on Google Maps.

As a curiosity, it was here in Ponta Delgada where the French Military Base, or rather, the Telemetry Station of the island of Flores, operated between 1964 and 1993. The function of this station was to detect and study the trajectories of medium range ballistic missiles (about 3,000 kilometers) fired from the Centre d’Essais des Landes, in Biscarosse (France), or from submarines or ships sailing in British waters, with trajectories over the Atlantic Ocean.

Also here begins one of the most beautiful trails of the island of Flores, the one that connects Ponta Delgada with Fajã Grande along 13 km. We didn’t trek this trail which can be done both ways but we have been told that it is actually better to do it from north to south, i.e. start here and go down to Fajã Grande to avoid one of the most difficult climbs. Read more about it in the section of the best hiking trails in Flores.

In Ponta Delgada there is also a free campsite with all amenities (toilet, water, shower, barbecue area…) and views to the neighboring island of Corvo.

Albarnaz and Baía de Além Lighthouse

At the other end of the northern tip of the island you will find the imposing Farol de Albarnaz, a photogenic lighthouse surrounded by green pastures and little cows eating, relaxing. When we went there it was very foggy and windy but on clear days it is said to be one of the best views of Corvo Island.

A little further down is the Miradouro da Baía de Além and its views of the Maria Vaz islet (to get there, park here). Come here to absorb the vastness of the Atlantic and think that, straight ahead, 2000 miles or so, you are in the United States of America.

If you want to do the trail we talked about in the previous point up to Fajã Grande (about 13 km), you should know that it is precisely here, near Baía do Além, that it is recommended to start, to avoid part of the road, specifically at this point on the map.

Morro Alto

Morro Alto is the highest point of the island of Flores, with 914 meters above sea level. It can be reached by a dirt road (you can go by car, slowly and calmly, appreciating the landscape) and, if the day is clear, have a beautiful panoramic view of the entire island and even the neighboring island, Corvo.

Visiting the neighboring island of Corvo

The smallest island of the archipelago, Corvo, was also one of the most special in our two-month trip in the Azores. Corvo is much more than its Caldeirão (the impressive caldera of its volcano that forms one of the most spectacular landscapes in Portugal) and is worth spending at least one or two nights there. If you do not have time for it, you can get to know the island on a day tour from Flores:

Book here the day tour to Corvo Island

The impressive Caldeirão on the neighboring island of Corvo

To go to Corvo or to get to know Flores by boat, you can contact Carlos from Extremocidente by email at info@hotelocidental.pt. Carlos Mendes is the sympathy, professionalism and adventure in person. In addition, he does an important work of environmental awareness to those who enter his boat.

The best hiking trails in Flores

In this trip through the nine islands of the Azores we promised ourselves to do, at least, one trail per island and Flores was not going to be the exception. In fact, we had planned to do two but due to the weather conditions, we were finally able to do only one.

Fajã Lopo Vaz: a trail with the final reward of a dip in the sea
  • Fajã Lopo Vaz (PRC04 FLO): 3.5 km round trip, and the reward of a dip in the beach where they say the water is warmer than the rest of the island. If you only have time to do one trail around the island, we would recommend this one. It won’t take up the whole day, the scenery is incredible and it includes a dip. What else do you want? More info and official brochure
  • From Ponta Delgada to Ponta da Fajã (Fajã Grande) (PR01 FLO): 13km linear trail. We have been told that it is best to do this trail from North to South, i.e. from Ponta Delgada to Fajã Grande and that, in fact, it is best to start it specifically here, near Baía do Além, to avoid a stretch of road in Ponta Delgada. More info and official brochure
  • Grande Rota das Flores (GR01 FLO): the previous trail is included in this, the largest on the island. It is 47 kilometers long between Santa Cruz das Flores and Lajedo, at the southern tip of the island, covering much of the coastline on foot. More info and official brochure
  • From the viewpoint of Lagoa Negra and Lagoa Comprida to the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall (PR03 FLO): 7.3 km demanding through the breathtaking landscapes of the Planalto Central. More info and official brochure

Where to dive in Flores

Although in Flores we did not test their waters with a bottle, only by swimming, we were recommended to try with Longitude 31 for its professionalism, quality of equipment and fun. In fact, they not only organize dives here, but also snorkeling trips, so even if you don’t dive, you can try some of their other activities.

It is already known that the islets tend to swirl a lot of life around them, so it won’t be a surprise if we tell you that among the best dive sites on the island you will find:

  • Ilhéu do Garajau, about 400 meters away from the Florentine coastline
  • Ilhéu de Monchique, the westernmost territory of the entire European continent, is located about 1,600 meters from the coast.
  • Fajã Grande: if you are a beginner or if you have never dived before, this is one of the most beautiful areas of the island where diving baptisms are usually done in Flores.
  • Gruta do Galo, about 15 minutes by boat from the Port of Santa Cruz.
  • Parque Arqueológico Subacuático da Slavónia: an ocean liner wrecked in Lajedo (south of the island) in 1909.

Where to stay in Flores: best areas

The ideal place to stay in Flores Fajã Grande or nearby, where you will find not only some of the most beautiful spots on the island (Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro, Poço do Bacalhau, Fajã Grande itself) but also some of the best restaurants and accommodations.

If, like us, you can’t find accommodation in Fajã Grande due to lack of availability, remember that everything in Flores is about half an hour away by car, so it’s ok. We finally stayed in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz, very close to the amazing Piscinas Naturales and Poça das Salemas, and we loved it.

Lajes das Flores is another very good option to stay, with excellent restaurants nearby. The point that seems to us to be more remote for you to look for accommodation on the island of Flores is Ponta Delgada.

Garden of one of the stone houses of Aldeia da Cuada in Fajã Grande. Book here.

Where to stay in Fajã Grande and surroundings

  • Residencia Mateus (50€/night): Simple and comfortable rooms overlooking the impressive Poço do Bacalhau waterfall.
  • Palheiro da Assomada (55€/night) : A very cozy house with one bedroom and a sofa-bed in the living room with a plus: Flower butter and homemade jam for breakfast.
  • Aldeia da Cuada (from 70€/night): Rural tourism in stone houses of different sizes (depending on the number of guests there are houses with 1, 2, 4 or 6 rooms). Each cottage has its own kitchen and outdoor space. Of course, the goal is to connect as much as possible with nature and disconnect from the rest, so there is no TV or WiFi, for that you will have to go to the reception or to the (very good) restaurant of the complex. It is undoubtedly the most famous accommodation on the island and you have to book well in advance.
  • Moinho da Cascata (from 70€/night): a cottage right next to the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall, the most beautiful on the island. It can accommodate up to 6 people
Moinho da Cascata. Photo by Booking
  • Sítio da Assomada (75€/night): A wooden cottage for a couple or family with children, idyllic, with garden
Garden of Sitio da Assomada. Photo from Booking
  • Casa Via d’Água (from 80€/night): A 2-bedroom house that accommodates up to 6 people. The garden with hammocks is ideal for relaxing during the day and stargazing at night.
  • Alojamentos Flores Island (from 80€/night): Houses from 1 to 3 bedrooms in the village of Fajã Grande. Unbeatable service
  • Casa Atlántida (from 85€/night): 1 to 4 bedroom houses facing the Atlantic Ocean, direct access to the sea, barbecue and private parking.

More options where to stay in Fajã Grande here

Where to stay in Fajãzinha

  • Casa da Queijaria (65€/night) : Are you familiar with Queijaria Pico Redondo? This 2-bedroom house (where up to 5 people can stay), kitchen and sea view is managed by Mrs. Ilda Helriques, the cheese maker. Do you know what that means? Delicious fresh cheese for breakfast and, who knows, a little farewell gift?
  • Fajãzinha Cottage (70€/night): A house for 2 people in front of the sea, ideal to enjoy the sunset.

Where to stay in Santa Cruz das Flores

  • Casa da Cruz (62€/night): House with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and terrace (barbecue) with sea views.
  • Casas da Quinta (from 75€/night): remodeled one-bedroom houses and one apartment with sea views
  • Inatel (from 100€/night): small hotel with double rooms with minimalist decoration overlooking the sea and the island of Corvo.

  • Casa Vicente (from 120€/night): aA spacious house overlooking the Atlantic. Accommodates up to 5 people.

More options in Santa Cruz das Flores here.

Where to stay in Lajes das Flores

Everything on the island of Flores is really close (with the exception of the northern tip of Ponta Delgada, where we do not recommend staying), so from Lajes das Flores you can move in a short time to the main points of the island, offering good accommodation options. Staying here has a great advantage: its gastronomic offer.

  • Casa das Pedras Brancas (from 62€/night): A one-bedroom house with a terrace and incredible views, 100 meters from Praia da Calheta.
Casa das Pedras Brancas. Photo from Booking
  • Casa dos Morros (from 65€/night): A one-bedroom house (and sofa bed in the living room), terrace and everything you need, washing machine included.
  • Vivenda Joaquim (from 70€/night): One-bedroom house with a terrace with hammocks and sea views, and a vegetable garden from which, with luck, you will be able to taste some vegetables.
Vivenda Joaquim. Photo from Booking
  • Casa das Flores (from 110€/night): A one-bedroom apartment with kitchen, living room and terrace overlooking the sea.
Casa das Flores. Photo by Booking

Best restaurants in Flores

Where to eat in Fajã Grande

  • Papadiamandis. Its location in the heart of the Fajã Grande with privileged views of the waterfalls and the imposing Atlantic Ocean and its excellent value for money makes it fill up quickly. It is one of the two most western restaurants in Europe (we will tell you about the other one soon) and its name comes from the shipwreck of the Liberian ship Papadiamandis when it was traveling from New Orleans to Hamburg in 1965. What to eat? We tried the fish but we have the feeling that everything is tasty. Main courses are around 15€/person, an imperial (beer) 1,20€ and a bottle of Azorean wine (white, from Pico) 15€.
  • Maresía. Our favorite restaurant/bar/terrace on the island. Actually more than a restaurant, Maresía is an experience: there is no menu and not many tables. Jorge welcomes you as if you were in his living room, he tells you what dish he is cookingthat day and how long it takes. If it’s okay with you, you are welcome to sit. When we went we tried the prawn curry once and the octopus the other time, both spectacular. You can also go just to enjoy the sunset and Jorge’s company, his collection of over 800 vinyls, the view of the sea, and a good Rocha Negra Azorean gin. Of course, here we had dinner our first and last night on the island. Looking forward to go back!. The main courses cost between 15 and 25€, the appetizers about 7€, a glass of wine 4€ and the azorean gin 7€.
  • Aldeia da Cuada. Since we were too late to stay there (if you don’t book in advance, the stone houses sold out quickly), we went to eat at the restaurant and loved it. Delicious food. Starters cost between 4 and 12€, main courses between 15 and 25€ and a glass of wine 3,5€.

Where to eat in Fajãzinha

  • Pôr-do-Sol. Ideal to enjoy typical products of Florentine gastronomy (such as the erva-patinha seaweed) on a terrace with the best sunset. Take a pen because you will need it for the multiple choice test: here nobody will make a mistake in your order because you will choose between boxes. Starters cost between 5 and 15€, main courses between 12 and 25€ and a glass of wine 3,5€.

Where to eat in Lajes das Flores

  • Casa do Rei: the small restaurant on the farm of a German couple who fell in love with Flores and stayed, uses only organic products, mostly from their garden, and even sells them to you. We loved the fish with almonds, the chutney and the service (they even offered us some lulos for free!). No credit cards, only cash. Main courses between 10 and 15€.
  • O Forno Transmontano: Typical dishes from the Trás-os-Montes region of the Portuguese mainland, sausages from the same area but also very fresh Florentine fish. All washed down with Douro wines, of course. Be careful, they only serve by order so it is essential to make a reservation and decide beforehand what you are going to eat.
  • Cana Roca: people say they have the best pizzas on the island, but since we didn’t get to try them, we can’t say for sure. If you have a craving for pizza and you go, let us know in comments.
  • Pastelería Rosa and the Queijadas Florentinas: the best queijadas on the island. After a long time unemployed, Rosa took two entrepreneurship courses, had access to a microcredit line and opened her own bakery of homemade sweets and biscuits. Right there, she created the typical sweet of the island (Flores still did not have a typical sweet): the queijadas florentinas, made with the fresh cheese of Flores. When we arrived the mythical queijadas – the queijadas florentinas – were not ready but the ones we tasted were delicious.

Where to eat in Santa Cruz das Flores

  • O Moreão: was recommended to us as one of the best places to eat fresh fish in the Florentine capital. On the menu there is what Hélder has caught that day and the famous “sopa de peixe” (fish soup). For dessert, if you are lucky, you listen to a fado sung by Elisabete, if she feels like singing on the day you go.
  • Sereia: the other option to eat fresh fish in the capital city
  • Fora d’horas in Portuguese means “Out of hours”. And here you will get a good plate of homemade food or a snack to take away, with a smile and friendliness. If your accommodation in Santa Cruz does not include breakfast, this is a good option as well.
  • Queijaria Val da Fazenda: Fresh and cured cheeses
  • Hotel Servi-Flor: a hotel that has not been touched since the 60’s according to Jorge from Maresia, who recommended it to us for lunch.

Important: Avoid improvisation and book in advance in all the restaurants. It seems unbelievable that at Randomtrip, whose motto is improvisation, we are telling you this but on the island of Flores (and in the Azores in general) it is essential to do so, especially in high season, due to the small supply and high demand.

Flores Itineraries

As you will have seen if you have read our entire guide, Flores has many incredible places to visit, so to see everything you need at least a week.

As we do not always have so much time to enjoy the island, we leave you several suggestions of itineraries for 3, 5 and 7 days.

Things to do in Flores in 2-3 days (a weekend)

A weekend may be enough to run around and try to see as much of the island of Flores as possible (weather permitting), but it won’t leave you time to relax and enjoy its natural pools or a drink with a view.

3-day (one weekend) itinerary in Flores

  • Day 1: Arrival in Flores in the morning, visit to Santa Cruz and whatever time there is between Santa Cruz and Ponta Delgada in the afternoon.
  • Day 2: Tour of the 7 lagoons of the island in the morning, and visit to Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro and Poço do Bacalhau in the afternoon, before sunset.
  • Day 3: Visit to the points that give time before the flight in the south-west zone (Lajes, Mosteiro, Lajedo…)
The impressive Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro

Things to do in Flores in 4-5 days

4 or 5 days seems to us the ideal amount if the weather is good (as you have seen, most of the plans in Flores are outdoors, so if it is very cloudy and/or raining the options are quite reduced), and here we leave you our proposed itinerary.

5-day itinerary in Flores

  • Day 1: arrival and relaxation at the natural pools of Santa Cruz, sunset at Fajã Grande
  • Day 2: Tour of the 7 lagoons of the island in the morning, and visit to Poço da Ribeira do Ferriro and Poço do Bacalhau in the afternoon, before sunset.
  • Day 3: Road between Santa Cruz and Ponta Delgada, stopping at different viewpoints in the morning, trail to Fajã de Lopo Vaz in the afternoon.
  • Day 4: Trail between Ponta Delgada and Fajã Grande, relax after at the natural pool of Fajã Grande
  • Day 5: Visit to the points that give time before the flight in the south-west zone (Lajes, Mosteiro, Lajedo…)
The most beautiful waterfall on the island: Poço do Bacalhau

Things to do in Flores in one week (7 days)

If you don’t travel to Flores in the summer and/or want to add Corvo to your visit (which we highly recommend), a week is the perfect amount of days.

One-week itinerary in Flores

  • Day 1: arrival and relaxation at the natural pools of Santa Cruz, sunset at Fajã Grande
  • Day 2: Tour of the 7 lagoons of the island in the morning, and visit to Poço da Ribeira do Ferriro and Poço do Bacalhau in the afternoon, before sunset.
  • Day 3: Road between Santa Cruz and Ponta Delgada, stopping at different viewpoints in the morning, trail to Fajã de Lopo Vaz in the afternoon.
  • Day 4: Trail between Ponta Delgada and Fajã Grande, relax after at the natural pool of Fajã Grande
  • Day 5: Visit to the points of the south-west zone (Lajes, Mosteiro, Lajedo…)
  • Days 6 and 7: Visit to Corvo Island (overnight stay)

Transportation: rent a car in Flores

As in all the islands of the Azores, in Flores we consider it essential to rent a car to make the most of the island, take advantage of the time, and visit all the places recommended in this guide at your own pace. Especially in Flores, driving is a pleasure, with little traffic, breathtaking views all the time and viewpoints every few meters.

We rented the car with Autatlantis and everything was perfect: the attention on arrival was fast and effective, the car (an Opel Corsa) was almost new and we had no problems at all. Practically all the companies include an excess in the insurance, and Autatlantis is one of the ones with the lowest excess (700€, compared to 1300-1500€ of other companies).

The prices of rental cars on the island of Flores rarely go below 25€ per day and, especially in summer, we recommend booking well in advance to avoid running out of vehicles or that the few that are available have crazy prices (in the summer of 2021 they reached 100€ per day and we know several people who did not manage to rent a car because they left it to the last minute).

There is also the option to move around by public transport: there is only one bus company (UTC) that connects some of the points of the island, you can see the schedules here. Connections and frequencies are quite limited, but if you are traveling on a low budget it can be a valid option to visit some of the main points of the island.

If you don’t have a driving license, can’t rent a car or don’t feel like driving, you also have the option of hiring tours to get to know the island better:

How much does it cost to travel to Flores?

As always, giving a generic budget is very difficult as it depends greatly on your style of travel and the season. What we can do is to give you an orientation of prices and you calculate your budget with them:

  • Flights: with low cost companies like Ryanair you can find flights for 50€ round trip to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel), Lajes (Terceira) or Horta (Faial), from Lisbon or Porto, although it depends on how far in advance you book. Afterwards, flying with SATA (the Azorean airline) to Santa Cruz das Flores costs at least 100€ per person.
  • Car rental: from 25€/30€ per day the cheapest car (depending on the company and the number of days). In summer prices go up and it can be very difficult to find a car at short notice.
  • Accommodation: from 50€/night for a room with private bathroom or apartment with kitchen.
  • Restaurant meals: between €15 and €25 per person

In total, as a guideline, a one-week trip to Flores with a rented car can cost between 450 and 750€ per person (with the cheapest options of car, accommodation and restaurants), that is, from 65€/person per day.

Rocha dos Bordões, the island’s most curious geological phenomenon

Useful apps for traveling to Flores

We recommend some applications that will be useful for your trip to Flores:

  • SpotAzores (Android/iOS/Web): here you can see all the existing webcams in different points of the islands to see how the weather is. Because the weather is very changeable and it can be raining in one area of the island and sunny in another, this app is the fastest way to make sure and avoid unnecessary trips.
  • Windy (Android/iOS/Web): essential app in our trips, even more so in the Azores. It allows you to see forecasts for rain, clouds, wind, etc. to help you plan your days based on the weather (as there are places that lose a lot depending on the weather). Obviously the forecasts are not 100% reliable. It also shows the available webcams
  • Google Maps (Android/iOS): is the one we use to save / classify all the places we want to go / have gone and as GPS in rental cars. You can see other people’s opinions of the places, photos, restaurant menus, telephone numbers to contact them, etc.
  • Maps.me (Android/iOS): application similar to Google Maps but that works online (although Google Maps can also work online) and in many cases has information that Google Maps does not have, especially trails. Useful whenever you are going to do a trail, to orient yourself, download the route from the official Azores trails website (click on Downloads->GPS), etc.
Fajã Grande, one of the most incredible landscapes of the island

Recommendations to enjoy Flores

  • If you visit the island in summer and enjoy its incredible crystalline sea, remember that sometimes you may encounter a jellyfish (aguaviva) or, worse, portuguese man o’war whose sting is painful and dangerous. The good thing is that these last ones float and are easily detectable, but in case you see one, get out of the water immediately and warn other people of their presence. In case you have been stung by either of them, it is very important that you follow these official recommendations: do not scratch the area of the sting (to prevent the venom from spreading); do not clean with fresh water or alcohol, clean only with sea water and very carefully; and in case the sting is from a Portuguese Man O’war, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Never try to touch or feed an animal – don’t be an accomplice to animal abuse!
  • Do not buy handicrafts made from sea animals or extracted from the sea (e.g. dolphin teeth, turtle shells, shark jaws, sperm whale ivory, …). The ivory trade, currently the only valuable product of the sperm whale, is still an argument for hunters to keep doing it. Buy local handicrafts made from alternative materials such as wood, stone or vegetable ivory.
  • Respect other people and the island: don’t play your music loudly on the beach (if you want to listen to music, wear headphones), don’t leave trash, don’t throw cigarette butts, etc. Leave the beach better than you found it (if you find plastic, pick it up).
  • In some areas bathing can be dangerous due to strong currents. Don’t be brave.
  • Always travel with travel insurance: medical expenses, theft or problems with your plane on a trip can mean a lot of money, so the ideal is to take out travel insurance. We always use IATI and recommend it. It also covers you for Covid-19 expenses. If you purchase your insurance through this link you have a 5% discount.

Checklist: what to take in your backpack/suitcase for Flores

Here is a list of must-haves you can’t forget to take with you on your trip to the island:

  • Wet shoes like these from Cressi (transparent, comfortable and dry quickly) or these, if you prefer another material that fits better. Keep in mind that in the Azores (with the exception of the island of Santa Maria) you will not find sandy beaches but natural volcanic rock pools or pebble beaches mostly so you will want to carry your booties always in your backpack.
  • Snorkel kit/glasses to see the little fishes in the natural pools. Here is a kit for less than 20€.
  • Reef friendly sunscreen, i.e. free of coral damaging chemicals, oxybenzone free, and not tested on animals, like this one.
  • Cap, the sun is very strong
  • Sunglasses
  • Trekking shoes because the best way to get to know the Azores is by hiking trails. We have these from Columbia.
  • A water bottle like one of these to always carry water with you, you are on the island of waterfalls and great water! Take advantage of it! In addition, you will avoid using single-use plastic.
  • A neck warmer like one of these to protect you from the wind/cold.
  • Long sleeve lycra T-shirt with UV protection that we wear to protect us from cold water or the sun when snorkeling, such as one of these.
  • Watertight bag, to keep your electronic devices safe on boats, for example on the semi-rigid to the neighboring island of Corvo. This one for example costs 12€.
  • Microfiber towel, which occupies little and you will use for the beach. If you don’t have one, you can buy the typical ones from Decathlon or these ones on Amazon
  • Camera to record Azorean adventures. We carry a Sony A5100 and a GoPro for underwater images.
  • Power bank: with so many photos you will spend a lot of battery, so it always comes in handy to carry a good power bank. We travel with these 2 (Xiaomi and Anker), which allow us to charge our smartphones, camera and GoPro.
  • First-aid kit: our first-aid kit should include a medicine against seasickness (such as biodramine for seasickness on boats), antibiotics, antidiarrheals (and a probiotic to recover more quickly), antihistamines, painkillers and antipyretics.

Obrigada Flores. When we said goodbye to you we were already counting with the calendar thinking about coming back so…. Até já!

Disclaimer: Autatlantis helped us explore Flores with one of their vehicles but all opinions and information expressed in this post are our own.

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